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Author Topic: Welfare-State People Sound Off  (Read 8905 times)

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Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2011, 04:39:23 PM »
No. That was a myth made by Protestants to paint Catholics as lazy and justify not hiring them. It is offensive to suggest that and an offensive term itself, just as it would be offensive to claim we are rooted in a 'white' work ethic.


I'm pretty sure you're overstating the offense factor given that this was a theory that was well-covered by Max Weber (he's kind of a big deal!) and continues to be taught in sociology classes today as a possible source, though to my knowledge, it was never actually so boldly proclaimed as "AMERICA IS PROTESTANT WORK ETHIC". It's no more offensive than talking about Marxist values or any other and is just as viable a topic as any other to bring up in this discussion.

Offline Sure

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2011, 04:51:23 PM »
I'm pretty sure you're overstating the offense factor given that this was a theory that was well-covered by Max Weber (he's kind of a big deal!) and continues to be taught in sociology classes today as a possible source, though to my knowledge, it was never actually so boldly proclaimed as "AMERICA IS PROTESTANT WORK ETHIC". It's no more offensive than talking about Marxist values or any other and is just as viable a topic as any other to bring up in this discussion.

An early 20th century late 19th century sociologist is not a good citation when trying to deal with anti-Catholic bias as it was a time when it was acceptable. Indeed, Weber put a decent amount of his work into pointing out that Protestantism was superior to Catholicism (and every 'other' religion). And if you want, I can list all the evidence he had to ignore to come to his conclusion.

And I've never seen it taught anywhere, except in the context of the theories of Max Weber. The same way students of Sigmund Freud might read his essays about how women want penises but will never have them. I've never seen it taught on its own as a legitimate belief.

It is no more offensive than talking about openly sexist or racist theories, to suggest it is anything less is to give religious discrimination a lesser place than other kinds.

Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2011, 05:24:26 PM »
The only thing I see wrong with the way it was used in this sense was making the claim that America IS based on the Protestant work ethic rather than saying that the Protestant work ethic is one theory used to describe blah blah, etc.

Obviously it's no secret that the book is wanking over Protestants (well, even that is misleading, given he was especially sympathetic to Calvinists and tossed Lutherans by the wayside, so the title isn't really the best descriptor), but I saw it more of a criticism between two ideologies rather than something akin to saying "women just want to be men" or "burn the Catholics". In religion, there are winners and losers (for those who play, that is) and every religion wants to come out on top :P If you ask me, it's really no more shocking than Christians suggesting that America succeeds because we're a Christian nation.

Anyway, it's a perfectly relevant subject to bring up given that Ruby has already pretty well stated she thinks Marxism is a good idea, which Weber refutes wholly. I'm not defending it as a particularly strong theory (it's not), but beating it out of the discussion isn't really fair, either.

Online Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2011, 06:43:02 AM »
Since Asuras basically sums up the total of Jude and Noelle's argument as far as I can tell, and I don't feel like waging wall of text wars on limited time >_>

I did get the taxation cost wrong though. Sorry about that. It would be about 15-20% at full employment (if using a WPA system or whatever).

Universal food stamps: About $600 billion/year. This would be transparent to most people as it just changes the vector of how money gets spent.
Universal health coverage: About $1,200 billion/year, more if excessive specialist testing and procedures weren't reigned in (but they pretty much have to be).
Universal clothing program: About $100 billion/year. Like food aid this would be mostly transparent.
Cell phone for everyone: About $30 billion/year (probably a lot less).
Moving compulsory education into it: I think the current cost is roughly 500-600 billion per year, looking at figures.

Each of these has precedent, and I think ideally would be combined with a Works Progress system to serve as a general recession hedge, rather than be 'free'. Although in that case you could probably eliminate the clothing program.

I think Vekseid's right in saying that the economy we now have could support these things.

However, I am skeptical that we could continue to provide that level of output if people got these things for free. If housing, food, utilities, clothing, etc were provided for free I'd probably work part time in a bit job to pay for the cable, computer, and internet and play World of Warcraft all day.

It's kind of strange, but in my mind because I have to work in a full time, real job even for the basic requirements of life, it for some reason follows that "Okay, given that I have to work a full time, real job, let's work in a good, well-paying, productive job."

I'm not entirely sure it follows that people would be so lazy as to force the tax to become onerous. No doubt some people would be less productive, but - as our needs become more and more automated (driving, to name one example) - it seems that actively encouraging genuine creative pursuits is the direction the economy is going to go in. Hell the entire housing depression is caused by, in part, our physical capacity to produce far, far more than we need. And getting the most out of creative people involves making them -not worry- about money. It turns out that paying too much actually makes them less productive.

I should point out that I don't consider the 'this will make people lazy' argument invalid, just not strong enough to toss the whole thing on its head. Karl Marx may have been wrong when he wrote 'there is enough', but it's certainly true now in the United States. There are enough physical goods to satisfy all needs, and a significant chunk of wants.

Where would (if at all) choice come into play in a system like this? If the government is providing these things by way of a tax would we risk having to dispense with choice in favor of economics?

This sort of argument applies to housing, but there are a lot of good arguments against giving away housing. I've alluded to this already.

For the rest of it, it's actually potentially more flexible in many ways than current systems. I.e. giving each child ages 5-19 a $20k/year (or so) 'grant' for education, that they (or their parents) could take to any accredited institution, rather than the compulsory property-tax based scheme we have now (and various attempts at vouchers designed to make the situation worse). There are a lot of universal health care systems, and they can be done similarly. Solving health care costs are a make or break issue for the economy - either costs are brought to par with other nations, or the system stops working.

The food ration might be used to help drive healthier diets, though. I don't see why you'd argue against more women in the US looking like those in your avatar >_> Diets are very society driven, so it would be a powerful tool, especially amongst the poor, who tend to see candy as the most economic choice for calories. That is not a good situation.

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Don't we already have evidence a system like this doesn't work, i.e. Marxism/Leninism?

This is somewhat different than the Soviet experiment. There's no compulsory work - that is, your job isn't assigned for you. Nor is there state seizure of private property. A system like this might be paired with a new Works Progress Administration - i.e. you either work in that or otherwise pay out of your normal job or business - but there's no restriction on your expression of your ability.

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One might argue the exact nature of success and failure when it comes to Socialism versus Capitalism, but last time I checked America, after its foundation has not suffered a revolution or collapse of its government system. No, Capitalism isn't a form of government but in my mind it goes hand-in-hand with a representative republic/democratic system.

In my opinion, a system as suggested would only erode personal liberty, something people died for and risked war for in 1776.

Now you are just overdramatizing.

Your freedom to swing your arms ends at the tip of my nose - and actually a foot or so beyond that as you don't have the right to physically threaten me, either.

You don't have the freedom to impose externalities on others - dumping hazardous waste into the water supply or what have you.

You don't have the freedom to declare one sort of good - virtual or not - magical after you horde it, forcing people to exchange valuable goods and services for it after you've established your monopoly.

The first two I don't imagine you have a problem with - but the third is a serious problem, and an example of what is causing many of the hardships we face now. Ruby's ideas basically amount to a rationing system of sorts - you won't have the 'freedom' to hoard.

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I don't want people to go without anymore than anyone else, but nor do I want people to be beholden to a system that I believe wouldn't ultimately remove choice and liberty. There is no guarantee of success, only of opportunity.

You don't really demonstrate how most of Ruby's ideas lead to that, just say that it does.

For housing, yes, that is a serious problem with it - the implication of providing housing means you choose where they live and that determines a whole host of other factors. This is only compounded by the fact that they don't necessarily feel responsibility for the property, and might not treat it very well and worse, expect it to get 'replaced' if they say, burn it down.

Or in one home someone was trying to sell to me several years ago, the renters had rented it out to people who had, somehow, managed to compromise the physical structure of the house.

It is vitally important that people care for their residence.

The rest of it would be relatively easy to implement (outside of political obstacles) and have in general a transparent effect on the economy, and also work as a limited degree of recession proofing (as you would be correct in stating that there is planning to it - 'people need to eat this much, so let's ensure that this won't get disrupted in a recession').

Something does need to be done about the ridiculous -cost- of housing, though. I think that's probably best solved by increasing non-homesteaded property taxes, personally.

Online Zeitgeist

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2011, 07:10:42 AM »

You don't really demonstrate how most of Ruby's ideas lead to that, just say that it does.


I do believe there is plenty of evidence all around us that people are successful and happy when given the liberty to make their own choices. No not everyone is successful, but that doesn't mean it is a failure. We just fundamentally disagree on this. Where you or others believe liberty and social justice is found under the prevue of government mechanisms, I believe it is found in the individual. What has been proposed above, sounds like to me a recipe for stagnation and mediocrity.

You mentioned I don't have a right to hoard. Over a relatively short period of time, about 9 months I saved up $2000 spending money for my trip to Rome. Are you saying others have a right to that money I saved? What if I saved $200,000 over nine years? Of course, the money was saved after taxes, so maybe that's a moot point.

Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2011, 07:27:10 AM »
Since Asuras basically sums up the total of Jude and Noelle's argument as far as I can tell, and I don't feel like waging wall of text wars on limited time >_>

Except you still haven't answered a few basic questions, but we'll get to those.

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I did get the taxation cost wrong though. Sorry about that. It would be about 15-20% at full employment (if using a WPA system or whatever).

If we're still talking about a flat tax, imposing 20% on everybody regardless of income is still a Very Bad Idea. Flat tax is just a bad deal all together for those who don't make enough to lose a lot of it to begin with. 20% to the upper money-makers makes more sense, but then, a lot of this style of government just doesn't seem to want to address them save as some kind of magic cash cow since you still haven't managed to explain to me why anybody would want to work crap jobs to begin with if they knew they could ride it out on the government -- and working person's dime while waiting for a better offer. "I don't think they'd be that lazy" is not a sufficient reason. Our present system is already abused within its own rules, a more open system would be more open to more abuse.

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I'm not entirely sure it follows that people would be so lazy as to force the tax to become onerous. No doubt some people would be less productive, but - as our needs become more and more automated (driving, to name one example) - it seems that actively encouraging genuine creative pursuits is the direction the economy is going to go in. Hell the entire housing depression is caused by, in part, our physical capacity to produce far, far more than we need. And getting the most out of creative people involves making them -not worry- about money. It turns out that paying too much actually makes them less productive.

I have an art degree with a job in the arts that is comfortably supporting me and I can still say that we don't need to make a massive shift to a welfare state to give creative people space to pursue what they want. I work 8 hours a day and still have seven hours in my evening to spend as I wish, including creating art. Again and again, I come back to this -- Why should I clean houses or work on a factory line to let someone else chase butterflies all day? If everybody pursues their dreams, nobody has a reason to do what they don't want to do if they don't have to.

Your automated argument is pointless because automating everything requires still more money to implement where we can, as well as regular maintenance and upkeep, as well as a backup if/when that technology stops functioning (cases of a natural disaster are a fine example), and while we're thinking about it, pile on more money we need because we need to do research to automate other things and make our present technology more efficient. Everything requires maintenance and upkeep or everything eventually crumbles and becomes outdated.

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I should point out that I don't consider the 'this will make people lazy' argument invalid, just not strong enough to toss the whole thing on its head. Karl Marx may have been wrong when he wrote 'there is enough', but it's certainly true now in the United States. There are enough physical goods to satisfy all needs, and a significant chunk of wants.

See my previous arguments because it actually is a pretty strong force, not because lazy people will necessarily make the system crumble, but because letting lazy people have free run gives others less incentive to work in a system that is already greatly and unfathomably biased towards those who do work. This system heard conservatives stereotype liberals and then made a system tailored exactly to those complaints. I'm generally a left-leaning moderate, but this system makes me feel like going full-blown Fox News because I'm horrified at the thought of working 40 hours a week so someone can pursue their dreams of _______ that allows them to do whatever they want all day. Not everybody in this system can do that. You still need work horses and if you're not giving those work horses a carrot, why are they going keep hauling everyone else behind them? Even if I worked a job I loved, even with my liberal beliefs, I'm not okay with giving a cell phone and internet access to someone with no interest in contributing back to the world in any way, shape, or form or who thinks their Harry Potter slashfic is going to make them famous someday.

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I don't see why you'd argue against more women in the US looking like those in your avatar >_>

Because this is, frankly, a stupid and sexist joke.

Offline Sure

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2011, 07:56:20 AM »
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The only thing I see wrong with the way it was used in this sense was making the claim that America IS based on the Protestant work ethic rather than saying that the Protestant work ethic is one theory used to describe blah blah, etc.

How is bringing up a discredited theory that was used mainly as a mechanism to discriminate against a group of people legitimately to this discussion at all?

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Obviously it's no secret that the book is wanking over Protestants (well, even that is misleading, given he was especially sympathetic to Calvinists and tossed Lutherans by the wayside, so the title isn't really the best descriptor), but I saw it more of a criticism between two ideologies rather than something akin to saying "women just want to be men" or "burn the Catholics". In religion, there are winners and losers (for those who play, that is) and every religion wants to come out on top :P If you ask me, it's really no more shocking than Christians suggesting that America succeeds because we're a Christian nation.

Regardless of your beliefs about religion, you are reducing 'The Protestant Work Ethic' to the works of Weber. Which is kind of like reducing Communism to the works of Marx. It ignores a lot of the nastier aspects by only looking at one (obviously sympathetic) source and ignoring the way society actually treated the ideology, or how others added to it afterward. And in no way does it change the fact that, even within Weber's own theories, it is a theory made by someone who thought his religion was superior to justify that belief which falls apart when looked at.

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Anyway, it's a perfectly relevant subject to bring up given that Ruby has already pretty well stated she thinks Marxism is a good idea, which Weber refutes wholly. I'm not defending it as a particularly strong theory (it's not), but beating it out of the discussion isn't really fair, either.

See above, how is it relevant? It's a discredited theory and one that primarily concerns itself with establishing a framework within which it is justifiable to discriminate against other religions.

Because this is, frankly, a stupid and sexist joke.

Stupid perhaps, sexist no. Referring to and upholding a standard of feminine beauty, and implying women should strive towards it, is not sexism, because there is an equal standard of masculine beauty (handsomeness, if you prefer). There is no inequity since both genders are being told to be insecure about themselves and to strive for unrealistic or even impossible standards by the media.

Online Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2011, 08:15:11 AM »
Stupid perhaps, sexist no. Referring to and upholding a standard of feminine beauty, and implying women should strive towards it, is not sexism, because there is an equal standard of masculine beauty (handsomeness, if you prefer). There is no inequity since both genders are being told to be insecure about themselves and to strive for unrealistic or even impossible standards by the media.

It's more a reference that there is a lot of evidence that obesity is partially driven by your social surroundings (or lack thereof). A national program could do a lot of good in counteracting this. Obviously it affects men, too.

I do believe there is plenty of evidence all around us that people are successful and happy when given the liberty to make their own choices. No not everyone is successful, but that doesn't mean it is a failure. We just fundamentally disagree on this. Where you or others believe liberty and social justice is found under the prevue of government mechanisms, I believe it is found in the individual. What has been proposed above, sounds like to me a recipe for stagnation and mediocrity.

Yeah, because when I was shitting blood and throwing up my own bile, my choices of suffering were quite varied. I was wracked with pain so frequently that I could not even get out of bed some days, much less go to a job interview and do something so excruciating as sit down and talk to someone, assuming I was actually able to talk that day. Learning how to properly untangle my own intestines from my nuts is a valuable skill, don't you think? My first business failed and I nearly lost everything - including this place.

...so yeah. I'm a big proponent of universal health care. I was before I went through that, but the shear insanity of losing years of my life for fear of the hospital visit costs - $1,500, by the way - just struck me as beyond galling. I sure as hell lost a lot more than $1,500 over it - it was fear that kept me away.

That isn't the way things need to be, and other countries are doing a very good job of proving that. Look at how many nations with universal health care we are in debt to. Look at how many of them are more creative, in patents per capita. Look at how many of them have superior technical services. Look at those of them that are, per person, richer - Norway, for example - despite working fewer hours.

Make no mistake, I'm all for capitalism on those goods where the Market hypothesis holds. And I'll concede that food and clothing are two of these - but I don't think giving them a planned hedge would be an excessive burden.

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You mentioned I don't have a right to hoard. Over a relatively short period of time, about 9 months I saved up $2000 spending money for my trip to Rome. Are you saying others have a right to that money I saved? What if I saved $200,000 over nine years? Of course, the money was saved after taxes, so maybe that's a moot point.

Are you seriously claiming that by having $200,000 in cash, that you actually have significant control of the money supply?

Not to mention the fact that you actually don't have full control over it, unless you're storing it as cash under your bed. Why do you think the FDIC exists? The money you save is being lent out and allowed to remain in circulation, despite it being 'yours'. Part of the problem, now, is that system has broken down, yes - but nothing stops the bank from giving your money to a hobo, and without the FDIC (since you're discussing a pathetically trivial amount of money compared to the size of the money supply), you could lose it in a bank run.

You'll need to jack your example up about six orders of magnitude before we can begin to have that sort of discussion. What are you planning on doing with $200 billion, and why should the United States Mint not print more to compensate for you manipulating the market with it?

An alternative, less drastic scenario would be the rationing of oil to prevent microhoarding. But when it comes to currency there's nothing particularly wrong with a high savings rate as long as it's still getting cycled into the economy, and moderate inflation is generally enough to discourage excessive saving.

Except you still haven't answered a few basic questions, but we'll get to those.

If we're still talking about a flat tax, imposing 20% on everybody regardless of income is still a Very Bad Idea. Flat tax is just a bad deal all together for those who don't make enough to lose a lot of it to begin with. 20% to the upper money-makers makes more sense, but then, a lot of this style of government just doesn't seem to want to address them save as some kind of magic cash cow since you still haven't managed to explain to me why anybody would want to work crap jobs to begin with if they knew they could ride it out on the government -- and working person's dime while waiting for a better offer. "I don't think they'd be that lazy" is not a sufficient reason. Our present system is already abused within its own rules, a more open system would be more open to more abuse.

20% if there was a new Works Progress Administration driving employment, under such a system there would be little 'being lazy'. But a new WPA would remove the need for most of it anyway.

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I have an art degree with a job in the arts that is comfortably supporting me and I can still say that we don't need to make a massive shift to a welfare state to give creative people space to pursue what they want. I work 8 hours a day and still have seven hours in my evening to spend as I wish, including creating art. Again and again, I come back to this -- Why should I clean houses or work on a factory line to let someone else chase butterflies all day? If everybody pursues their dreams, nobody has a reason to do what they don't want to do if they don't have to.

Becuase you're not actually addressing my argument, you're addressing Ruby's, and I'm not going to answer for her support of universal, free housing.

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Your automated argument is pointless because automating everything requires still more money to implement where we can, as well as regular maintenance and upkeep, as well as a backup if/when that technology stops functioning (cases of a natural disaster are a fine example), and while we're thinking about it, pile on more money we need because we need to do research to automate other things and make our present technology more efficient. Everything requires maintenance and upkeep or everything eventually crumbles and becomes outdated.

Pointless? Automation is a labor force multiplier. That's its purpose. Right now we're at a point where between a third to a half of our economy supplies not only all of our basic needs but also a lot of cool features that we consider to be a perk of living in a modern society. Part of the reason for the current recession is that this automation is reducing the demand for even skilled labor.

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See my previous arguments because it actually is a pretty strong force, not because lazy people will necessarily make the system crumble, but because letting lazy people have free run gives others less incentive to work in a system that is already greatly and unfathomably biased towards those who do work. This system heard conservatives stereotype liberals and then made a system tailored exactly to those complaints. I'm generally a left-leaning moderate, but this system makes me feel like going full-blown Fox News because I'm horrified at the thought of working 40 hours a week so someone can pursue their dreams of _______ that allows them to do whatever they want all day. Not everybody in this system can do that. You still need work horses and if you're not giving those work horses a carrot, why are they going keep hauling everyone else behind them? Even if I worked a job I loved, even with my liberal beliefs, I'm not okay with giving a cell phone and internet access to someone with no interest in contributing back to the world in any way, shape, or form or who thinks their Harry Potter slashfic is going to make them famous someday.

Except, again, I'm not really defending free housing.

But there is enough housing that we could work out incentives to make this work, even if it wouldn't be 'free'. Or if all people got was a communal shelter with limited computer access and an address.

Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2011, 12:19:49 PM »
I'm not really here to talk in-depth about the Puritan Work Ethic because it's not even really on topic necessarily. I'm sorry if you felt offended by the other person's usage of the theory, but if you'd like to continue to discuss it elsewhere, feel free. I've stated my view on the subject.

In terms of sexism, yes it was a sexist comment and it is degrading. It was an objectifying comment made about women in general and I found it unnecessary. I'm not here to cause an uproar about it, I just thought I would point out that it was kind of an offensive thing to say and that perhaps it could've been left out entirely. I don't really expect an apology or retraction at any rate, I just thought it was worth mentioning since I was sure this was a forum that tried to keep things polite and it kind of took me by surprise. If I'm mistaken, please correct me, but please don't marginalize.



Becuase you're not actually addressing my argument, you're addressing Ruby's, and I'm not going to answer for her support of universal, free housing.

Except I am addressing your argument, which I quoted specifically for that purpose. I'll break it down for you.

You say this:

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I'm not entirely sure it follows that people would be so lazy as to force the tax to become onerous. No doubt some people would be less productive, but - as our needs become more and more automated (driving, to name one example) - it seems that actively encouraging genuine creative pursuits is the direction the economy is going to go in. Hell the entire housing depression is caused by, in part, our physical capacity to produce far, far more than we need. And getting the most out of creative people involves making them -not worry- about money. It turns out that paying too much actually makes them less productive.

The message I'm getting: It's okay to let people stop working to chase their dreams, whatever they are. It's okay to let people "not worry about money" and let someone else do the work for them so they can do what they want, even if doing what they want entails no work and no economic contributions.

I refute you with -- why do I have to work so someone else can pursue their non-contributive dream? If we encourage artists, for example, to sit at home and paint all day because that's all they want to do, why do I have to foot the bill if they're not giving anything back? Who is going to clean toilets if they have the option to do something else and do it on someone else's dime?

This is perfectly relevant to what you just said and if it's not, do explain how it's not instead of dismissing me based on things I'm not even talking about.

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Pointless? Automation is a labor force multiplier. That's its purpose. Right now we're at a point where between a third to a half of our economy supplies not only all of our basic needs but also a lot of cool features that we consider to be a perk of living in a modern society. Part of the reason for the current recession is that this automation is reducing the demand for even skilled labor.


Pointless in terms of your tax code. We would have to jack up taxes yet again to pay for the implementation of automation in as many places as possible, as well as maintenance and research. Who's going to cover that? How many things are we going to automate? In which industries? Which workers are we going to displace? How far and how much are we going to automate? And so forth.

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Except, again, I'm not really defending free housing.

I feel like you're reading a different post than I wrote, because I have not explicitly mentioned free housing anywhere. You, yourself brought up that giving everyone things like a cell phone and internet access should be some kind of universal right and I am rebutting that point by saying that I am not paying for someone's leisure activities if they're not contributing anything back. Please actually address the things I say instead of dismissing them in a sentence that puts words where they don't exist.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2011, 05:10:38 PM by Noelle »

Offline Jude

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2011, 05:17:12 PM »
Vekseid, your position differs from what Ruby staked out in a big way (or perhaps that is just my understanding of it).  What I got from Ruby's position is that she believes that all of those things should be rights -- something that cannot be taken away except in very extreme circumstances (in the way prisoners can be denied certain rights for example) -- guaranteed by our laws.

I'm not against offering these things as a bridge to helping people become productive members of our society.  If we make it contingent upon participation in a works progress administration for example, I have no problem with just about anything that was mentioned.  There are very few people in this country that cannot work at all, and if we required them to do sensible tasks in order to "earn" it (even if those tasks are "easier" than what a normal person is required to do) then I see this as fair.  For example, someone who is bedridden can still answer phones in a reasonably stressless way in order to take simple messages.  Giving them a reasonable standard of living in exchange for that is totally OK with me.  And I'm sure there are people who are completely unable to work at all, ever... And I'm okay with supporting them too.

What I don't agree with is unconditionally providing these things for the entire country on the basis of a right, much like you have a "right" to not be arrested for exercising your right to free speech (excepting the very few prohibited areas)

Cell phones are a bit of a gray area -- land lines would do fine.  I don't think we need to give people their own homes unless they do have a family (one large enough to justify it) and even then it should be a very tentative, impermanent arrangement.  The internet I flat out disagree on; you only need access to it, not to have it in your home in order to look for a job (which your local library has).  But the rest?  I can't object to helping people get back on their feet.  But making it a right means you can do nothing and get by and no one can stop you.  That, to me, is a disastrous idea.

Offline Serephino

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2011, 09:30:34 PM »
Thing is, there already is an incentive to be lazy.  It was Veks I believe, that pointed out the income limit for most of these programs is 10k a year.  It was also pointed out that it's insane because you can't live on that.  Working makes it so that you can't have access to these programs.

There was a thread here before about a lady living somewhere that had a shitload of kids and lived off the government's dime.  A boyfriend I had in high school lived with his mom and brothers in public housing.  The brother of a friend sits around and smokes pot all day in the same public housing.

Because, you see, if you don't have a job you can go live in the Projects for $5 a month.  This includes basic utilities like water, electric, and heat.  Internet, TV, and anything but basic phone service is a luxury, so you'd have to figure out a way to pay for those.  You can also get free health care, and food stamps.  So really, with the safety net that's already there, what's the incentive to work more than maybe 16 hours a week? 

Yes, the system is currently being abused.  I won't argue that, but there is actually less incentive to work with the system as is.  If you can get a good job, that's great, but my boyfriend flips burgers at McDonalds.  That's hardly enough to live on, but it's too much to receive free medical care.  I receive Disability, but that too is too much to receive health care.  I can get Medicare paid for, but that is fairly worthless as is.  My boyfriend can't get anything, and he has a heart condition that needs monitoring.  He could quit his job and go live in the Projects and get that all taken care of, or continue slaving away without care until something major happens and he gets saddled with a bill he can't pay. 

I don't go to the doctor unless something major is wrong because I simply cannot afford an office visit ($82).  I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't call up the office to get antibiotics called in for simple infections that I've had before.  I've ended up costing hospitals thousands of dollars by going into the ER instead of my family doctor because the ER can't turn me away or make me pay anything up front.  How is that better than giving me Medicaid so I can get these things taken care of before they become a problem?  I had step throat, but only went to the ER when my voice was completely gone. 

I think Ruby's system is a bit extreme, and could be taken advantage of, but the current system punishes those who do work, but are still poor.  What I would say we need to do is raise those stupid income limits.  Oh, and while you're all talking about those who would paint all day, or play WoW all day, there's one thing you haven't thought of.  The system would only provide basic needs.  Where would the art supplies come from?  How would someone not working pay $14.99/month to keep WoW on?

Under this system, sure, you could not work, but you'd pretty much have to either spend all day at the library, or stare at a wall the rest of your life.  The incentive to work would be the fact that people like to do things.  I like to eat out.  I like to go shopping.  I like going to the movies.  I have been known to enjoy bowling.  All of that takes money, and would not be included in food and clothes vouchers.  If one wants more than the basics, then one would have to work.  I don't know about you, but even lazy people are rarely happy with nothing but basics.  Even my ex liked video games and swords, and took me out to dinner when he had the money.  That's why most people work now and constantly struggle.   


Online Vekseid

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2011, 05:06:33 AM »
Except I am addressing your argument, which I quoted specifically for that purpose. I'll break it down for you.

You say this:

The message I'm getting: It's okay to let people stop working to chase their dreams, whatever they are. It's okay to let people "not worry about money" and let someone else do the work for them so they can do what they want, even if doing what they want entails no work and no economic contributions.

That's where society is moving, yep.

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I refute you with -- why do I have to work so someone else can pursue their non-contributive dream? If we encourage artists, for example, to sit at home and paint all day because that's all they want to do, why do I have to foot the bill if they're not giving anything back? Who is going to clean toilets if they have the option to do something else and do it on someone else's dime?

I think I've made it clear that people should still need to work for housing. But I don't see any particular reason why making sure that everyone has access to food, clothing, health and communication no matter what disaster may strike them is a bad thing.

Because here is the thing - all of this stuff is available to you if you refuse to work.

I was denied health care because I made more than $10k per year. And everything else would be, too. Everything on Ruby's list, though the housing was subsidized. Didn't matter that all of my income went to legitimate business expenses. Those deductions don't count - just my raw, unadjusted income.

So, since you can stop working, and after about a year you'll be eligible for these things, why don't you? All you'll need is $5/month to pay for your share of the subsidized housing.

The price, of course, is you'll have to live next to the sort of people who made that decision, too, or through one circumstance or another are forced into it (that happens). This option is available - but you actually have to commit to being useless to society. You claim you would - but why aren't you?

In the mean time, the rest of the benefits on Ruby's list don't carry that sort of social price to implement. Most of your standard of living is bound up in where you live, after all.

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This is perfectly relevant to what you just said and if it's not, do explain how it's not instead of dismissing me based on things I'm not even talking about.
 
Pointless in terms of your tax code. We would have to jack up taxes yet again to pay for the implementation of automation in as many places as possible, as well as maintenance and research. Who's going to cover that? How many things are we going to automate? In which industries? Which workers are we going to displace? How far and how much are we going to automate? And so forth.

What does public investment have to do with the progress of automation?

What do you think a jobless recovery means, and how do you think that happens? Magic? We employ fewer people, pay them less, have them work fewer hours, but they are producing more.

Hint: It's not magic. And a sixth of the population is feeling the effects of that not being magic, even though we are actually producing the resources to support them just fine. I am not claiming that the best solution is to provide their needs for free, but trying to pretend that part of the issue is not the progress of more and more advanced automation is just sticking your head in the sand.

In the end, no, there won't be any need for non-creative labor. Will it happen during our lifetime? Maybe. I'm not sure. It's worth discussing, however, because it has immense social ramifications, and all signs point to this occurring incredibly fast in the scale of human history.

Why should you clean toilets instead of the robot? I have no idea, maybe you're into that sort of thing.

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I feel like you're reading a different post than I wrote, because I have not explicitly mentioned free housing anywhere. You, yourself brought up that giving everyone things like a cell phone and internet access should be some kind of universal right and I am rebutting that point by saying that I am not paying for someone's leisure activities if they're not contributing anything back. Please actually address the things I say instead of dismissing them in a sentence that puts words where they don't exist.

Alright, so why don't you?

Have you actually applied to these programs and see why you get turned down?

You have to be working part time, minimum wage, in order to get many of these benefits. Full time minimum wage? Sorry, you're obviously not struggling as much - you've got $15k per year, what could you possibly need!? Go pop out some babies or something and come back to us.

And if you're childless and self employed you can get lost.

Vekseid, your position differs from what Ruby staked out in a big way (or perhaps that is just my understanding of it).  What I got from Ruby's position is that she believes that all of those things should be rights -- something that cannot be taken away except in very extreme circumstances (in the way prisoners can be denied certain rights for example) -- guaranteed by our laws.

I think food, communication, health care and education should be rights.

You don't necessarily have the right to hours of communication per day, much less unlimited communication, but you should be able to contact loved ones, potential employers, emergency services, and so on. You don't necessarily have the right to unlimited Internet access, but you should at least have access to a shared, secured, publicly visible computer where you can check e-mail, the news, and so on.

You don't necessarily have the right to eat out, or order pizza, but you should not starve and should be able to eat healthily even in the event of some personal catastrophe. Putting everyone on what amounts to food stamps doesn't really have much of a negative economic 'cost' to it, it just means that you don't have to jump through hoops in order to get what you need in the event of disaster. It can also be used (absent political gaming which no doubt would happen without other precautions - but we're assuming those are in place for sake of argument) - to help drive public health.

You don't necessarily have the right to cosmetic surgery, but we're paying a heavy price for the lack of preventative care - that should be a right, just as much as emergency care is a right now.

You don't necessarily have the right to pursue an art degree on the public dime, but evidence seems to show that two years of college / trade school are the most productive, so providing 15 years of education rather than 13 seems like a good idea.

You don't necessarily have the right to designer clothing, but you shouldn't have to risk freezing to death or appear unsuitable for work.

You don't necessarily have the right to live in a dream home, but if your employer requires a mailing address, you should be able to have one. If they can require you show up clean, you should have access to a shower.

...by all means, make it as spartan as you want. Make sure people don't like living that way. But we need to make sure people are facing a minimum number of unfunded mandates in their personal lives.

Now, these rights should not be constitutionally mandated. I don't believe a state's constitution should place a burden on said state - because it's purpose is to set guidelines and limitations, not set mandates. I rather dislike the 4th amendment in principle for this reason, though I would be fine with the amendment being changed to ensure that the law is accessible, or that prosecution must pay a stipend for defense.

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I'm not against offering these things as a bridge to helping people become productive members of our society.  If we make it contingent upon participation in a works progress administration for example, I have no problem with just about anything that was mentioned.  There are very few people in this country that cannot work at all, and if we required them to do sensible tasks in order to "earn" it (even if those tasks are "easier" than what a normal person is required to do) then I see this as fair.  For example, someone who is bedridden can still answer phones in a reasonably stressless way in order to take simple messages.  Giving them a reasonable standard of living in exchange for that is totally OK with me.  And I'm sure there are people who are completely unable to work at all, ever... And I'm okay with supporting them too.

Well yes. I'm not defending Ruby's proposal as ideal. Or saying that the ideal situation is a 20% flat tax to provide these things even with said program. Just that the math is there and the goods are there, and it is not physically impossible to do.

I do think the government should have a general works progress agency that never quits, but whose sole purpose is to basically provide 'full employment'. It will gain employees during recessions and lose them as the private sector picks up again. It would ensure that skills stay fresh, that people don't face liquidity crisises, etc. But that's a different topic.

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What I don't agree with is unconditionally providing these things for the entire country on the basis of a right, much like you have a "right" to not be arrested for exercising your right to free speech (excepting the very few prohibited areas)

Cell phones are a bit of a gray area -- land lines would do fine.

Cell phones are cheaper. It helps that the entire project could be funded by a properly sized price-fixing lawsuit. Plus you can give everyone one and use the built-in system to restrict time, while giving shared landlines has logistical pains.

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I don't think we need to give people their own homes unless they do have a family (one large enough to justify it) and even then it should be a very tentative, impermanent arrangement.

No, even then it's a bad idea.

If you don't own something, you don't feel as responsible for it. Addressing and encouraging home ownership is going to require something above and beyond the scope of Ruby's proposal here.

People do need an address they can be mailed at, though.

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  The internet I flat out disagree on; you only need access to it, not to have it in your home in order to look for a job (which your local library has).

That's basically what I meant. To get real access you'd need to pay, but it would either be communal or bandwidth-limited.

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  But the rest?  I can't object to helping people get back on their feet.  But making it a right means you can do nothing and get by and no one can stop you.  That, to me, is a disastrous idea.

Keep in mind that, in this thread, I'm speaking partially from personal experience.

I was turned down for government health care because I 'made' too much, which, at the time, the limit was about $8k or $9k per year. To which my business expenses didn't apply - I certainly had more than that in revenue, but I had advertising agreements, my vehicle, etc. that all needed payment, and weren't getting it.

On a lark I looked up other benefit systems and found pretty much the same story - the income limit is set so ridiculously low for so many programs, that it's the people who work the hardest who get treated the worst. If you're self employed your problems are even worse, because none of your expenses count (though, thankfully, the IRS will bend over backwards for you).

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2011, 08:18:28 AM »
We as a society should get past having to work to survive to work because you choose to do a certain thing or not. And it would help employment if a person had to work and at a crappy job like garbage collection and waste removal you could get paid doing it for 20 hours a week and then be free the rest of the time. And with the nature of the job it would likely pay more that other work. Many might choose options more demanding like serving in the military who under my system never have to worry about their families having a home, food, clothing, education and health care which is an issue now. Same for those in law enforcement or other professions these might demand more hours but people do them often because they want to do them even fire fighters don't get paid extraordinarily or police or teachers.

As for housing it would match the need a single adult would get a dorm room similar to college with a cafeteria and other needs, paying fines for any damages you don't repair etc. A married person would get a bigger place sutied to two people. Children would require likely a house but big enough for them to live in. But people can own homes and would argue with the money they could save if they opted to work more could be attainable with savings. A two income couple making ,after taxes, $40k a year could save half that and own a home outright in at most ten years in many places less and in some places more.

I don't want the government to make jobs that is for the private market and self-employment which is why I'm proposing this an end to doing work you don't want to do and more time for what you want to do for work, with unpleasant work paying more to get people to do it. I want a doctor to leave school with no big debts so they are free to practice medicine at a lower income than now. I want a teacher to teach and not have to worry about the little things. I want a street clown making tips to pay half of that and having a place to live and his basic needs covered.

I just don't think there is such a thing as a job not worth anything if your a budding poet is handing out your poetry and reciting it for tips your a poet and by your nature make your community better. If you flip burgers for money then its honest and you should have your needs met plus make some money to. In our society though both are denigrades and don't support the doer of them unless they are wage slaves. Slavery by controlling the check is still to me slavery and may be wore than the institution we had with blacks forced to come here. Its not as overtly vbad but wage slavery is insideous and colder.


Offline Jude

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2011, 10:08:12 AM »
It's not society's fault that people have to work to survive, that's a function of our very existence.  We have basic needs that must be fulfilled as a result of our biology.  Trying to put together a government to circumvent that requirement for survival is a futile effort because it's an attempt at denying the facts of human nature.  It sounds good on paper, but like any other utopian idea, I see no reason to believe it wouldn't crash and burn when everyone quits their 9-5 office grind in order to sleep late and pull their guitar out of the attic for an hour every week to harass their neighbors with the soothing sounds of self-assured delusional melodic dissonance.

Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2011, 12:00:46 PM »
That's where society is moving, yep.

Did I miss the memo on this? According to who? Last I checked, more people are worrying about money and jobs than ever. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, we have had a tenuous slide of people gradually losing their jobs to automation or outsourcing, so they are forced to find a job in a more relevant place. Our nation is generally conservative and is constantly taking steps to slash welfare and people from all over the political spectrum are speculating on welfare reform. College tuition is rising, federal grants are on the decline, and that makes college harder to access for those who are precisely getting welfare. How is that a step in the direction of fewer people worrying about money and doing what they want?

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I think I've made it clear that people should still need to work for housing. But I don't see any particular reason why making sure that everyone has access to food, clothing, health and communication no matter what disaster may strike them is a bad thing.

I think I've made it clear that I'm not talking about housing. I would argue that providing for people who are capable of helping themselves and choose not to is a waste of my money. People who genuinely cannot work or do anything whatsoever, I would argue, are few and far between. If you are capable of doing something for yourself and you don't, why is my responsibility to pick up the tab? A social safety net in our present society is something I could agree with you on -- I think providing for those who are struggling and picking up the ends they can't is a good thing. We can agree on that. However, it's a good thing because we're helping them get on their feet so they can contribute something back to the country that is providing for them. That is the big stipulation here.

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I was denied health care because I made more than $10k per year. And everything else would be, too. Everything on Ruby's list, though the housing was subsidized. Didn't matter that all of my income went to legitimate business expenses. Those deductions don't count - just my raw, unadjusted income.

So, since you can stop working, and after about a year you'll be eligible for these things, why don't you? All you'll need is $5/month to pay for your share of the subsidized housing.

The price, of course, is you'll have to live next to the sort of people who made that decision, too, or through one circumstance or another are forced into it (that happens). This option is available - but you actually have to commit to being useless to society. You claim you would - but why aren't you?

I didn't claim I would. I actually enjoy being a productive member of society. I've been through low wages and unemployment and they were miserable. I work a full-time job that I support myself on, student loan debt and all, and with nobody else's help and I still don't have health insurance.

What's misleading is you're tying up today's standards with a hypothetical standard that Ruby has set up for us here. Of course I wouldn't choose to quit my job and go into a welfare state today -- but you're not entirely accurate when you say all of this stuff is already available to people with low income because it's not. We have one of the worst social safety nets in the first world, especially in comparison to Europe. You make these things sound like a trip to Oprah's Favorite Things where everyone gets a cell phone, home heating, internet access, and more. Not everybody who applies gets what they want because we have limited funding for the poor and it's only getting worse. There's no guarantee there at all, and that's why nobody would likely choose to quit their job and go on welfare in this nation at the present and that is why it's misleading to use it as a standard against an automatic welfare state where everything is provided to everyone regardless.

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What does public investment have to do with the progress of automation?

Because we don't live in a vacuum where money means nothing and things innovate, develop, install, and maintain themselves?

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What do you think a jobless recovery means, and how do you think that happens? Magic? We employ fewer people, pay them less, have them work fewer hours, but they are producing more.

Which works if you're simultaneously creating new jobs to replace those lost and you stop outsourcing so much, or else you have job recovery that may show unemployment is going down statistically, but it's at a crawl. Pretty sure that's where America's sitting right now.

In the end, no, there won't be any need for non-creative labor. Will it happen during our lifetime? Maybe. I'm not sure. It's worth discussing, however, because it has immense social ramifications, and all signs point to this occurring incredibly fast in the scale of human history.

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Why should you clean toilets instead of the robot? I have no idea, maybe you're into that sort of thing.

Except that whole glaring part where we don't use robots on a large scale for that in the world we live in right now and presumably don't have them in the scenario that Ruby has set up for us in this thread, so maybe there's another reason why I should sit and scrub shit all day instead of floating by on government cash until something else comes along? I feel like a broken record because there's not a good reason for this and nobody seems to want to address it in the context of things that are actually viable right now. A fully automated manual labor sector is a long ways off, I'm not even going to pretend it's viable in this lifetime because we lack the money to implement and maintain that kind of technology on a large scale. What if we had robots that did everything and what if we all lived like the people on Wall-E? I think a better question is how is that even relevant to the situation we're dealing with?

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Have you actually applied to these programs and see why you get turned down?

You have to be working part time, minimum wage, in order to get many of these benefits. Full time minimum wage? Sorry, you're obviously not struggling as much - you've got $15k per year, what could you possibly need!? Go pop out some babies or something and come back to us.

And if you're childless and self employed you can get lost.

Your point is what, exactly? I've already addressed our current welfare system being incomparable to a total welfare state earlier, so I don't really feel the need to repeat it, but I would hardly see our current welfare system to be a fit example to compare to considering it's not even a fraction of what a total welfare state would be, as you've just proven for me. And considering there is already abuse to aspects of our welfare system as is, flaws and all, I shudder to think how the same people would treat a total given welfare state where they're not actually obligated to try and work at all.

And, to answer your question, I have applied to low-income programs before to get by. I am well aware. Don't know about your educational experience, but going to college puts you in a pretty awful situation financially when your schoolwork is already like a full-time job and you still need to make money to survive, and don't even get me started on what it's like after you graduate.



As for Ruby's post and a little bit just in general:

Truthfully, the argument against work sounds childish to me. I really have little sympathy for people who feel like they deserve to only do things for themselves when in fact it is society that is providing for them. Humans are tribal and we all have a part to play to make that tribe work. I'm not going to haul rocks to build a bridge when someone else is busy writing slashfic to wank to. Conversely, if the whole village sits around and writes slashfic to wank to, nothing gets done and society as a whole collapses because we were too busy masturbating to fix it. Everyone has to play their part at least some of the time and there has to be an incentive to do it.

On another note, people who have no talent don't deserve to be paid like those who do. Terrible fanfiction should be rooted out just as the masterpieces should rise to the top. If you're bad at painting, either get better or don't expect to earn much. The things people do are not automatically relevant or good for society -- a terrible poet who feels the need to yell his awful work from the rooftops at 2AM because it's a part of his creative process is not relevant to me. Not everybody can live their dreams because not everybody's dream is compatible. If my dream is to be a full-time nudist organ-grinder, that's not viable in a civilized society as we know it.

In reality today, I don't expect to make a lot of money with my art degree because art is not that important to our basic needs. Art does not keep people alive, art does not improve our lifespan or heal sicknesses. It doesn't make faster computers, it doesn't keep our streets safe, it doesn't save lives. I am aware of my career path's importance relevant to society and frankly, I would feel wrong making as much as a doctor, "just because". Creative pursuits take a back seat to practicality for a reason and I'm okay with that.

Even just ignoring the economic aspects of this plan, it just doesn't work because it fails to acknowledge that not everybody can get what they want. Not everybody can follow their dreams. We don't live in a society run by robots and probably won't for a long, long time.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #40 on: April 10, 2011, 05:44:38 PM »
I'm not anti-work but anti-slavery work there is a difference. If one does something they either enjoy doing or do to get by makes a difference to me. If its the former its making money while having enjoyment some people may like inventing things and others cooking and others have other things they enjoy. I think also some people must work to get along doing what they don't like but do it. I just want to encourage the former and make the latter as painless as possible with no need to do it as much.

A fundamental trade off is also you won't get everything handed to you if you don't work at all and can you still must provide things for yourself either they are not essentials (scented soap, toothpaste, deorderant etc.) or a luxury (television, cable, internet in the home, a car, college or education over the K-12 level) or money for retirement. And for the security of not having to worry so if you opt to go to college and become a doctor most of your money can go to that you will get your other needs mostly met while your going to school or you could save up and buy a home outright with no loans in a fair amount of time. You forget this would also end lots of horrible things homelessness, unemployment (if fewer people work a business must then hire more people), drudgery, offer more free time to be happy all these are good plus a less stressed person makes for a better worker.


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Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #41 on: April 10, 2011, 06:21:50 PM »
I'm not anti-work but anti-slavery work there is a difference. If one does something they either enjoy doing or do to get by makes a difference to me. If its the former its making money while having enjoyment some people may like inventing things and others cooking and others have other things they enjoy.

What if what I want to do is sit in my free house, smoke pot, and eat free food?  What if I want to do is run a hate-mongering website?  What if I want to create ugly art which no one wants to buy and I don't believe attending art school or taking criticism will improve it?  What if I want to write grammatically incorrect smut on the internet all day?  What if I want to be a doctor but I have a learning disability which restricts me from reading any higher than a 5th grade level even after more than a decade of educational interventions?  Should workers be taxed to pay for me to be enabled to do these things?  Why do you assume that everyone has an unobtainable "dream job" or a latent creative talent that is being stifled by gainful employment?


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I think also some people must work to get along doing what they don't like but do it.

Many people have jobs they do love.  They earned them by taking the needed steps to advance in their field.  They did it through making early sacrifices in order to achieve their goals.  They didn't do it by the government forcing others to pay their way.  To assume that strangers should take on financial and social burdens for you (and I use that pronoun generally) to live for free while "exploring your art" is at best entitled and at worst childish.

There's lot of jobs no one wants to do that cannot be replaced with technology.  Toilets need scrubbed.  Shelves need stocking.  Irate customers must be appeased.  Agricultural animals need feeding, cleaning, slaughtering and artificially inseminated.  There will always be jobs that need done in order for society to function.  No one would be doing anyone any favors by allowing these duties to go undone.

Now, do we have a moral obligation to aid the working poor?  I say yes.  Do we as a society need to encourage and enable those with the ability to create art, invent, and educate themselves for careers in the fields they most desire to work in?  Again, I say yes.  There are social programs in the U.S. that address all those needs.  Are they adequate?  That's certainly a matter of discussion.  Should we trash our entire economic system?  Absolutely not.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 06:48:46 PM by Star Safyre »

Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2011, 07:43:36 PM »
I'm not anti-work but anti-slavery work there is a difference. If one does something they either enjoy doing or do to get by makes a difference to me. If its the former its making money while having enjoyment some people may like inventing things and others cooking and others have other things they enjoy. I think also some people must work to get along doing what they don't like but do it. I just want to encourage the former and make the latter as painless as possible with no need to do it as much.

But my point is, why would you bother doing what you don't need to do if the government is providing you a means to live without having to do anything? Even working 16 hours a week doing anything is such a small amount that almost nothing would get done -- some people today have daily shifts that are nearly that long because there's just that much to do. 16 hours at my job as a graphic designer is two days of work and I'm the only artist on staff -- our business would shut down if I decided I didn't feel like working more than 16 hours at a time and because I work for a small business, they don't exactly have the money to hire on another person to work another 16 hours when I'm perfectly capable of doing it.

The problem with your plan is that it means well, but shows a pretty big lack of knowledge for business and economics. Only requiring 16 hours of work means you have to hire more people to make up for that -- and while more employed people is a good thing, small businesses are going to suffer big time because they don't have the budget to hire double the amount of people to do work that could be done by half their employees. It doesn't make sense.

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A fundamental trade off is also you won't get everything handed to you if you don't work at all and can you still must provide things for yourself either they are not essentials (scented soap, toothpaste, deorderant etc.) or a luxury (television, cable, internet in the home, a car, college or education over the K-12 level) or money for retirement. And for the security of not having to worry so if you opt to go to college and become a doctor most of your money can go to that you will get your other needs mostly met while your going to school or you could save up and buy a home outright with no loans in a fair amount of time.

How are things like soap and toothpaste non-essential (I leave out deodorant because its function is pretty much purely aesthetic)? Personal hygiene is kind of a standard for a healthier society. I argue that cars are essential because mobility is a huge key to improving your socioeconomic status because it makes work more accessible to you, especially if you live in a suburban or rural area. Public transit only goes so far -- Tumbleweeds, Montana isn't about to implement a metro system, so what of them? How are you supposed to get a job if you don't have a means of transportation?

And college is a luxury now? I can't follow your logic at all. You want to make it free, except for people who don't work -- but people aren't obligated to work so they can chase their dream. So if their dream is college and they don't work -- ???? Besides, I'm not sure if you're aware as to what it's like to be a college student, but I was unemployed most of the time because I didn't have time for a job during the school year, certainly not my final year because of all the senior projects I had for two different majors.

This is the big issue I have with your plan -- there are so many holes and places that are unaccounted for or just simply don't mesh with reality that it's not as easy as giving everyone the same thing and telling them to chase their dreams. You're adding footnotes to footnotes and they don't even make sense and aren't consistent with the rest of your policy.

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You forget this would also end lots of horrible things homelessness, unemployment (if fewer people work a business must then hire more people), drudgery, offer more free time to be happy all these are good plus a less stressed person makes for a better worker.

Homelessness, sure. I can get on board with that. Unemployment? Hardly, as was demonstrated by my point about hiring double the workers for half the work -- why not hire workers who promise to work 40 hours a week and kick the 16-hour pansies to the curb? Besides, you have to encourage job creation, which isn't really done when the tax rate is 50% for anyone who does work.

I agree that happier people make better, more productive workers, but I don't see A) How our present system is even remotely comparable to slavery in general and B) why we have to completely scrap everything and enter a nationwide nanny state to accomplish this.

Offline Asuras

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2011, 12:13:14 AM »
Quote from: Vekseid
I'm not entirely sure it follows that people would be so lazy as to force the tax to become onerous.

It's not that the tax is onerous, it's really about the programs we're discussing. Giving people an unconditioned right to basic free housing, food, utilities, etc.

I think about a lot of people I know, ranging from kids in middle class families with parents that support them years after they should have gone to college and started their lives, up to trust fund fuckers with more money than they know what to do with. They're all slackers for lack of a better word; many of them are quite talented, but they never feel like they need to go into the real world and get an actual, productive job. The reason is that they have all these things provided for them, and they're happy with that, so they don't pursue any more. If I understand the present argument, we're talking about providing that for everyone. Maybe the trust fund babies won't be interested in just basic housing and a free cell phone, but a lot of lower income and middle income people would be complacent with that.

To be clear, I'm absolutely for providing support to people who need it - and even more than we currently provide - but I think it should be conditioned on trying to find a job and develop skills.

Quote from: Vekseid
Hell the entire housing depression is caused by, in part, our physical capacity to produce far, far more than we need.

I absolutely agree that we have a tremendous physical capacity to produce a huge amount of stuff, my contention is whether we can capture that capacity under this program.

One piece of the housing boom was an investment spree. This doesn't really affect that, although it's worth noting that it wasn't a purely creative force, but the profit motive.

The second is that it was possible because construction labor is cheap. This program would basically provide a minimum wage (and probably more) for nothing, so...why would someone work as a carpenter for minimum wage in the grueling Texas sun for 8 hours a day when he can get that for free?

Quote from: Vekseid
And getting the most out of creative people involves making them -not worry- about money. It turns out that paying too much actually makes them less productive.

The first point...I'm skeptical. I know a lot of programmers who don't have to worry about money (mainly the slackers I mentioned above) and they dabble in open source this, dot-com that...but somehow they don't seem to really achieve much. There are rare exceptions (none that I know personally). On the other hand, the programmers I know at Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Accenture - these guys seem to be accomplishing things. Money isn't the first thing on their mind, but they care about it. Somehow that focuses their incentives.

Offline RubySlippersTopic starter

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2011, 07:58:38 AM »
Personal hygiene items are not essentenial you need clothes, food, shelter and medical care. Most people need at least a high school diploma so we have public education. But you are free to stink being a filthy person is still not going to kill you on its own. I'm just saying if you don't need it to live you don't get it and this includes most technology items even a phone.

And your assuming I'm for a consumer society in this I'm not. Rather one that meets our internal needs and wants if we need to feed people we just need enough food production to do that plus some extra. If we need to have so many shirts produce that many shirts. The extra goods above that would be done as the free market funding permits it you might have cars sold but maybe just make alot fewer cars in the long run. In short its what Marx would have idealized everyone provided for but with some free markert mechanisms so people get some luxuries to. But people would likely work less since my view is take the obligations for the very basics away then it leaves people free to produce in our society just enough to meet our needs and then again allow extras in the private market.

Its again a trade off you would have more free time and less worry, in return you would get less stuff and likely have to decide if that fancy new widget is worth it or not.

As for the example of the hate monger sitting on his bum and promoting hate speech, fine, he would have to work to get a computer and internet and pay for the web site and whatever else he wants to. If he gets paid being a hate site operator he is working take half the income and its fine by me. Same for a person who might write poetry and post it collecting donations they are working so the same thing. I don't care how much they make enough people would want to work to by things they wanted over the basics it should all work out. If they made $2000 a year thety pay half and the rest is theirs its fine by me. Most of you sound as if you would want to work alot more than that your just demonstrating the fundamental wants system is still good to go and most will work at least part-time and likely more.


Offline Jude

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2011, 10:00:28 AM »
Personal hygiene items are not essentenial you need clothes, food, shelter and medical care. Most people need at least a high school diploma so we have public education. But you are free to stink being a filthy person is still not going to kill you on its own. I'm just saying if you don't need it to live you don't get it and this includes most technology items even a phone.
Not having a high school diploma isn't going to kill you either, but you're going to have a hard time getting a job without it, and the same is true of deoderant.  By the way, it makes no fiscal sense to cover people's medical bills but not their toothpaste.
Most of you sound as if you would want to work alot more than that your just demonstrating the fundamental wants system is still good to go and most will work at least part-time and likely more.
In your system I would quit working immediately, because I'd have to work harder to reach the same heights I can reach now.  I struggle now to get by providing for myself and paying off my student loans -- why not just default on them if everything is going to be provided for me?  I have video game systems and you're giving me food and access to a house and electricity, right now I'm a tenant... So I'll just take awhile off to play until I've finished everything I own.  Then I'll get another job long enough to by up some more games to play and quit again.  Or better yet, get a nice computer and pirate everything.  Actually, I'd leave the country and move somewhere with a lower tax rate.  I don't have to remain part of any nation that's basically requiring me, by law, to support people who don't want to live the same 40 hour-work-week lifestyle that I do.  It's that simple.

I have a question for you though Ruby.  Forget everyone's criticisms, I want to know why you think this change would make the world a better place.  What is the great injustice of our current system you believe your welfare state would correct?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 10:16:15 AM by Jude »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2011, 10:15:46 AM »
Personal hygiene items are not essentenial you need clothes, food, shelter and medical care. Most people need at least a high school diploma so we have public education. But you are free to stink being a filthy person is still not going to kill you on its own.

Um - wrong.  Poor dental hygiene can result in infections of the mouth that can then get into the bloodstream, causing sepsis, leading to shock and organ failure.  Not washing can result in the spread of infections from E. coli (and other digestive tract infections) to MRSA (and other skin infections), any of which can kill, or at the very least, will put an extra burden on your free medical services.

Offline Noelle

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2011, 10:36:45 AM »
Personal hygiene items are not essentenial you need clothes, food, shelter and medical care. Most people need at least a high school diploma so we have public education. But you are free to stink being a filthy person is still not going to kill you on its own. I'm just saying if you don't need it to live you don't get it and this includes most technology items even a phone.

Wrong you are on this one. Personal hygiene prevents the spread of disease, which healthy, clean people can then contract because there's a bunch of Pigpens running around. Your lack of personal hygiene isn't just your problem. People who don't brush their teeth get cavities and periodontal diseases, amongst other things -- and you already said you're willing to cover their medical expenses, so maybe you could explain to me how it makes sense to pay for a $1000 root canal, but not $2 on toothpaste. Your priorities make no sense and pretending they do doesn't change that.

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And your assuming I'm for a consumer society in this I'm not. Rather one that meets our internal needs and wants if we need to feed people we just need enough food production to do that plus some extra. If we need to have so many shirts produce that many shirts. The extra goods above that would be done as the free market funding permits it you might have cars sold but maybe just make alot fewer cars in the long run. In short its what Marx would have idealized everyone provided for but with some free markert mechanisms so people get some luxuries to. But people would likely work less since my view is take the obligations for the very basics away then it leaves people free to produce in our society just enough to meet our needs and then again allow extras in the private market.

Your system is broken, then. Your system relies on people working, but doesn't want to provide adequate work. It's broken when it says people only have to work 16 hours a week, but then devalues its own laborers (a blatant no-no in Marxism, as you should know) by essentially making them compete to see who will work more since smart companies are not going to hire two part-time laborers when they have one person willing to work more hours than both of them combined. It's broken because those workers willing to work 40 hours rather than just 16 then have a monopoly on the limited cap on work available you just imposed with this rule. You broke your own system. Insisting that Marxism will work over and over when we continually prove that it's broken is just willful ignorance and frankly makes for a disrespectful debate.

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Its again a trade off you would have more free time and less worry, in return you would get less stuff and likely have to decide if that fancy new widget is worth it or not.

Who gets more free time and less worry? Not everybody can, Ruby, and I’ve demonstrated this in past posts.

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As for the example of the hate monger sitting on his bum and promoting hate speech, fine, he would have to work to get a computer and internet and pay for the web site and whatever else he wants to.
Hypocrisy. Either everyone can follow their dream or not everybody can. Your basic system says that nobody should have to worry about doing a lot of work and that everyone should be able to follow their dream and be provided for, and yet you’re still promoting a broken system. What if he needs a computer to start up that job? What if he needs internet and other resources provided to him because that’s the job he wants to work? He’d be like the Westboro Baptist Church, only worse, because under your system, the government would be either be obligated to fund his new business so he could work, or you would basically be telling him to not follow his dream and get another job so he can do what he wants on the side – which is basically what you have to do now, and is what you so eloquently call “slavery”.
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Most of you sound as if you would want to work alot more than that your just demonstrating the fundamental wants system is still good to go and most will work at least part-time and likely more.
Except you’re missing the part where your work horses (and that’s exactly how this system treats working people, like oxen to pull the welfare sled) are actively complaining to you in this thread about how they would blatantly not want to live under this system – and forcing them to do so would be true slavery, meaning your cash cows are probably going to skip town and leave dead weight to fail on their own accord. I’m sure as hell not going to stick around in a place like this, so the only question that remains is what are you going to do when all the working people move to a place where they can get ahead faster and where there is an actual incentive to work and innovate?

Offline Zakharra

Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2011, 12:39:20 PM »
  This system rewards laziness and gives hardly any incentive for people to achieve or excel at anything. It would also stifle research since there is little reason for people or companies to do it. Why would most people work when most of your basic needs are already met and if you do work, you lose half your pay if not more (assuming the 50% tax is for all taxes and not just the Federal bite. If it's Federal, then the states and local governments will take even more)?

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Re: Welfare-State People Sound Off
« Reply #49 on: April 12, 2011, 02:58:17 PM »
I wonder when Tax Freedom Day would fall under this system.  Given the highly likely drop in the number of workers, the likelihood of gross inflation, and much higher demand for government spending, I'd guess August or perhaps as late as November.